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OOTB 287 – 7 February 2008

OOTB 287 – 7 February 2008

Performers: Nelson Wright, Aaron Lowenberger, Jonny D, Fletcher, Jim Tudor, Will Tomson, Lindsay Sugden, Mike, Jim Whyte.

Nelson Wright

Nelson plays delicate and evocative café music. Just when you are wondering if it is a touch understated or not quite perfect, you realize that you have been taken in by the lyrics and can ‘see’ the situations he is describing, so I guess the songwriting and the performance must be powerful.

His first, all about seeds is nice enough, but reminds me musically somewhat too much of ‘For Emily’ by Paul Simon.

Arty French Film is the best of the lot, the sound world reminds you of sitting in a French cafe, and you can see the film scene he is describing. It is played with considerable technique, I particularly like the part-leading where he picks out a melody that stands clear of the other picked or strummed notes. Tension is built using a prolonged tonic pedal. I have to say its nice to see how this music translates from hearing it in The Listening Room unamplified (perhaps its native environment) to being miced up and enabling us to hear every note and word.

You Really Shook My Egg, usually a great crowd-pleaser this performance was slightly short on the crowd front and short of things to shake. Note to self: bring egg.

Aaron Lowenberger

Last week’s featured act returns with a short set of his instrumental loveliness. He treats us to three tunes, in three tunings!

Uneasy Feeling, well it certainly wouldn’t have been easy for me to play, at times picking bass line, melody and inner parts all distinctly and nicely weighted. Simple techniques are put to good use such as passages in 3rds with answering phrases in 6ths.

Waiting for You; Waiting for Me, is in Drop D. Aaron creates harmonic direction with ascending scales in the bass line that just keep going up and up.

The DADGAD song. This one was much faster, and was played in the tuning of its provisional title, with lots of pull-offs. The openish tuning leant it a more bluesy feel.

Jonny D

Jonny he looks like a younger version of Billy-Joe Armstrong. He starts with a cover of knockin’ on heaven’s door  , oops didn’t someone tell him its an originals only night. So onto his second, I have to say this second song was much better, he was more confident and more at ease with his own material. Jonny has a voice that is rich and warm when he sings quietly and gets progressively more emo as he increases the volume. A solid debut performance.

Catch his material at www.myspace.com/jonnydownie

Fletcher

Amazingly this is Fletcher’s debut at OOTB, they have been a number of times but never managed to land a slot. Vocally its rock all the way, with the guitar influenced by classical/Spanish music, performance-wise Ben has a stance and attitude which mesmerise the audience, not to mention a great voice, whilst Finn sits unassumingly working subtle magic on the guitar, it’s an inspired pairing.

Down By The Riverside is a dark Edinburgh tale of a girl who turns on her attacker, only to be convicted of all his murders.

Lost Boys, inspired by Nick Drake

Tyrone Sunset

Catch them at www.myspace.com/FletcherUK

Jim Tudor

What can a reviewer say about a man who buys knitwear for his iPod?

Paper Castle, I love this songwriting – its anything but formulaic. The music has both short and longer range harmonic motion, and does not have symmetrical phrasing, but naturally follows the flow of the words. The long harmonic progressions give a more classical feel and yet there are some obvious folk progression thrown in. Altogether it has poise.

The Gambler, is Jim’s first fingerpicking song! No appologies required.

A Song from the Sea, a love song written on an overnight ferry. I’d argue that it sounds more like a sea-shanty than a love song.

Overall, its all delivered with such grace and dry wit, that its easy to miss how witty and occasionally filthy the lyrics are. More bawdy ballads please!

Will Tomson

Use to be a Good Lad

Young at Heart

Pretty on the sidelines

Words are very contemporary and on the ‘Pop’ side of life, the music all four-chord tricks and derivative. I would have preferred it with a full band and a catchier performance than in an acoustic environment. The lyrics would probably carry it with a youthful audience.

Lindsay Sugden 22 March 2005

Lindsay Sugden 22 March 2005

Lindsay Sugden

Beyond These Walls

She’s solo tonight, but I can hear the cello, backing vocals, and glock in my head, It’s the curse of having recorded this one my very self.

Time Stands Still

I can just hear the clocks ticking, ticking, and ticking in the background

On The Wire

Odd hearing this without ‘the band’ and mixing ott effects over everything, but the test of a great song is how it stands up naked, and it stands

The sophistication of these songs and Lindsay’s guitar is striking in contrast to the average singer-songwriter. I mean the odd chord-shape is standard, but almost every one has been crafted, perhaps its natural or perhaps she searches for what she is hearing in her head, but either way it add such depth to the songs. If only I understood what any of the lyrics meant, but then it wouldn’t be the indie chic that it is.

Lindsay has a new CD out of her music (with the Storm) as recorded at Windmill Sound, you can also catch her at www.myspace.com/LindsaySugden

Mike

Mike looks like a younger brother of Jason Wringe.

Having announced that he doesn’t do subtle, he starts with a soft jazzy number that I rather liked. All nice descending chromatic moves.

His second was Funky with a capital F. This gets more and more confident as he gets into it., More nice jazzy moves.

The last is more straight-ahead rock with a slight Spanish feel.

I think the songs and playing skills are all there, confidence will come from more performances, which we will welcome.

Jim Whyte

I Found Love

About a pet or a lover: you decide (I know what I think, even if he insists its about a rabbit). Tender and affectionate. Makes you want to give Jim a big hug.

Live Feed

Insistent high chords over a pedal, oh effect when the chords finally change is amazing. Its dying for a late entry of bass and drums to relieve the tension. Sung with such intensity that the audience is transfixed.

Slow Poke

You can just hear the band, swirling guitar chords voice dark and more menacing in this one, I daresay heavily distorted guitars threatening under the chorus.

A good set with passion, sensitivity, intensity and a great range musically.

Big Jim has a voice to break hearts, I could just leave it there… it says it all really.

Compere: Nelson Wright Sound: David O’Hara Review: Daniel Davis

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COMMENT: AUTHOR: kerry (by email) DATE: 02/15/2008 02:03:29
Have several times considered playing at this event and have several times thought better of it because of picky reviews like this. I thought the ethos of this night was to provide a supportive environment for songwriters to debut new songs, but already you are telling people what accompaniments their songs ought to have and picking things to shreds like a boring musicologist. Save your visions for your own material and let people develop at their own pace. Do you really believe that your criticism is contructive and are you in a position to give it? To previous reviewers; stop with the dull comparisons and amateur musicology. Does it float your boat or not? These are the questions worth asking and answering in music, which (remember folks) is a subjective thing.
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